Leonard, Harden Lead Clippers To 125-109 Victory Over Wizards

Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA News, Washington Wizards
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Kawhi Leonard’s 31-point performance and James Harden’s 25 points propelled the Los Angeles Clippers to a 125-109 victory over the Washington Wizards during Wednesday’s NBA action.

The Clippers turned the game in their favor with a dominant third quarter, outscoring the Wizards 40-19 after holding a 10-point lead at halftime.

A significant moment came when Harden’s 3-pointer extended the Clippers’ advantage to 20, a lead further expanded by Leonard’s highlight dunk from a Russell Westbrook assist and Norman Powell’s contributions, bringing the score to 106-79 by the end of the third quarter.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards Updates

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue praised the team’s defensive effort in the third quarter, emphasizing the importance of their mindset and execution.

“It was huge, in that third quarter, just coming out with a defensive mindset,” Lue said. “For our guys to lock in and give up 25 and 19 (points) in the second and third, I thought it was huge for us. It allowed us to get the lead, and it was kind of over after that.”

Both Leonard and Harden also made an impact on the boards, with nine rebounds each, and Harden’s five 3-pointers were crucial in breaking the Clippers’ recent shooting slump.

“We’ve got the right approach, and the great mindset of every single game is similar to where, no matter the opponent, it’s about us,” Harden said. “Because we can be really, really good. And the chemistry and the communication aspect is the most important thing.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards Updates

Despite resting Paul George due to groin soreness, the Clippers managed an impressive 12 of 30 from beyond the arc, improving their long-range shooting efficiency.

Lue wanted the team to attempt more three-pointers, considering their shooting capabilities. The Clippers’ victory is part of a successful month, finishing January with a 12-3 record and maintaining their strong standing in the Western Conference.

“I would like if we get more 3s up,” Lue said. “Just how good of a shooting team that we are. Attacking the paint, making the right pass, getting open 3s. We turned down some tonight.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards Updates

Kyle Kuzma led the Wizards with 27 points, primarily in the first half, as the team adjusts under interim coach Brian Keefe following Wes Unseld Jr.’s dismissal. Despite the loss, Keefe acknowledged the team’s effort, particularly in the first half, before the Clippers’ third-quarter surge.

“I loved our fight in the first half,” Keefe said. “Only down six at the half. They made a quick burst in that third quarter. … That was the quarter that really got us.”

Rookie Bilal Coulibaly scored 19 points in his second career start, filling in for the ill Jordan Poole.

Looking ahead, the Clippers aim to continue their momentum against the Detroit Pistons, while the Wizards look to bounce back against the Miami Heat, with both games scheduled for Friday night.

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